Destination: Good Health Newsletter

Destination: Good Health is the combined magazine from MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. Over the last several years, our hospitals have been on a journey of integrating programs and services between our two campuses to provide patients with the right care, in the right setting, at the right time. We consistently have seen how patients have benefited from treatment at both hospitals, and we believe that now is the time to share our combined successes in one publication.

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Articles in This Issue

Game On Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement Speeds Recovery

Michael Jacobs, MD
Michael Jacobs, MD

Like many individuals involved in professional sports, Michael Barnett has had his fair share of aches and pains. But the 59-year-old had never really had any major health problems other than a shoulder injury in college that shattered his hopes of playing professional baseball. That, however, did little to dampen his enthusiasm for the sport.

“I decided to get into coaching and have been doing it ever since,” Barnett says. “It’s been great ... I wouldn’t change anything.” During his career, he has served as a batting coach for teams all over the country, developing many lifelong friendships along the way. So when hip pain and stiffness from arthritis resulted in a recommendation that he consider hip replacement surgery, he turned to a former colleague for advice.

“Ed Hodge is a batting practice coach who used to work for the Baltimore Orioles,” Barnett explains. “We have stayed in touch over the years and I knew he had hip replacement surgery.” Hodge referred him to Michael Jacobs, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon noted for his expertise in treating patients with hip and knee conditions at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, here in Baltimore.  Continue reading...

To learn more about the hip and knee specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute or to schedule an appointment, visit, or call 877-34-ORTHO (877-346-7846).

Keeping the Flu at Bay: Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Malek Cheikh, MD

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last year’s flu season was considered severe, based on the number of people seeking medical attention for this highly contagious respiratory illness. It also lasted for an extended period, which highlights the importance of being proactive to help prevent the flu.

“Flu activity often begins in October in the U.S., peaks December through February, and sometimes lasts as late as May. So now is the best time to take some preventive steps to protect yourself from getting sick this upcoming flu season,” says Malek Cheikh, MD, medical director of the Good Health Center at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.

“The single best thing you should do each season is get a flu shot. Seasonal flu shots are created to protect against the three or four flu viruses that are expected to be the most common during a flu season. Last year’s vaccination won’t protect you,” Dr. Cheikh explains. “Flu vaccines trigger the development of antibodies that guard against the strains of flu contained in the vaccine.”  Continue reading...

The Good Health Center at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital offers seasonal flu vaccines for $20 as well as pneumonia vaccines for $25, and both vaccines are free for those with valid Medicare Part B cards. To learn more about its services, visit this page or call 855-212-8202.

Improving Surgical Outcomes: Interdisciplinary Approach Benefits Patients, Families

Jim Parshall, MD
Jim Parshall, MD

An innovative new program at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital is improving outcomes for older individuals in need of surgery who have multiple medical problems. A partnership between the Center for Successful Aging and the Department of Surgery, this interdisciplinary effort is designed to proactively identify patients who may be at risk for poor outcomes after surgery because of these conditions and engage with them and their families to reduce their risk.

“Some believe that older individuals will not benefit from surgery or have too many risks for certain procedures,” says Jim Parshall, MD, a geriatrician in the Center for Successful Aging. “We follow a patient-centered approach that focuses on helping patients and their families understand the risks and benefits of surgery. The final decision regarding surgery is a shared one that is made by the patient and surgical team. If we decide to proceed with the procedure, we then take the time to fine-tune the patient’s medical conditions prior to scheduling it.”

The Center for Successful Aging has long been dedicated to addressing the unique needs of people experiencing complex medical and social age-related conditions, providing patient-centered care that is comprehensive and coordinated among doctors, nurses, therapists, and other caregivers—all in one location.  Continue reading...

For more information about the Center for Successful Aging call 855-212-8202.

MedStar Sports & Performance Cardiology: Specialized Care for Athletes and Active Individuals

Ankit B. Shah, MD
Ankit B. Shah, MD

Stacy Bisnette started running at the age of 40 after moving to Columbia, Maryland from Massachusetts. The health and wellness coach had exercised on and off for years, though she had never enjoyed running. But, wanting to get outdoors and get some exercise, she decided to give it another try.

“I quickly realized that, in this area, running is a great way to meet other people,” Bisnette says. “As a newcomer to the community, establishing new connections was important to me. So, I joined a running club for women called Moms RUN This Town.”

Soon she was making new friends while exploring Columbia’s many parks and trails with other running enthusiasts. “I was doing some pretty long runs several days a week and was getting serious about signing up for some races,” she notes. “Then I started to have heart palpitations when running and the more I ran, the worse they got.”

Concerned that she might have a heart condition, Bisnette mentioned the palpitations to one of her fellow runners, Sharon Swencki, MD, a physician in the Emergency department at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. Continue reading...

For more information on the MedStar Sports & Performance Cardiology Program at MedStar Heart Vascular Institute, call 410-366-5600.

Get Out and Get Moving

Karen Kansler, RN
Karen Kansler, RN

Most people know that exercise provides many mental and physical health benefits. It helps prevent heart disease and other chronic illnesses, improves mood, reduces stress, improves sleep, and more. But did you know that simply going outside to exercise could increase those benefits? Turns out, it can.

“Outdoor exercise combines two health-enhancing activities: moving your body and getting outdoors,” says Karen Kansler, RN, nurse wellness coordinator in the Good Health Center at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. “Plus, there are numerous ways to get your exercise outdoors. It can be as simple as a brisk walk around the block or a bike ride in the park. Even light gardening or other yard work is considered moderate physical activity.”

Kansler notes that exercising outdoors offers some other appealing benefits: Continue reading...

For a free pair of gardening gloves and a daily workout card, complete this form.


Snoring and Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know

Jacques Conaway, MD
Jacques Conaway, MD

It’s normal to snore every now and then. But what if you, like millions of Americans, snore regularly night after night? Are you harmlessly sawing logs or could you be suffering from a potentially debilitating sleep disorder?

“Forty-five percent of normal adults snore at least occasionally. It is more common among men and individuals who are overweight and usually worsens with age,” says Jacques Conaway, MD, FAASM, medical director of the Sleep Centers at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.

“Snoring may also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which has been linked to health issues, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. So, it should not be taken lightly,” he says.

Dr. Conaway notes that, all too often, snoring and sleep apnea are thought of as interchangeable. But not all people who snore have sleep apnea, while most people with sleep apnea snore.

Snoring can be caused by a number of different factors, including: Continue reading...

For a free sleep mask or a sleep center referral, complete this form.

Beating Breast Cancer: Early Detection Key for Both Women and Men  

Maen Farha, MD

Every October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people all across the nation join together to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of breast cancer screenings. The most common cancer among women in the United States, besides skin cancer, it impacts hundreds of thousands of individuals, as well as their families and friends, each year.

But, what many people don’t know is that men can get breast cancer, too.

“Even though men don’t have breasts like women, they do have a small amount of breast tissue,” says Maen Farha, MD, medical director of the new Breast Center at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. “The breasts of an adult man are similar to the breasts of a girl before puberty. In girls, this tissue grows and develops … in boys, it doesn’t. Because it is still breast tissue, breast cancer can develop.”

Breast cancer in men is a rare disease. Less than one percent of all breast cancers occur in men. Continue reading...

The public is invited to tour the new Breast Center at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and meet our breast health experts on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is required as space is limited. Visit to sign up.

Community Health Spotlight: Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Ryan Moran
Ryan Moran

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 115 people in the United States die every day after overdosing on opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Maryland is among the five states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths.

MedStar Health is working to address this trend in the Baltimore region through its Opiate Overdose Survivor’s Outreach Project (OSOP), a new initiative launched in May. 

“In a review of overdose deaths in Maryland, we found that one out of seven victims had four or more overdose-related visits to the Emergency department (ED) in the year preceding their death,” says Ryan Moran, director of Community Health for MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and MedStar Harbor Hospital. “Our program helps us to identify those high-risk individuals, provide a brief intervention in the ED, and continue to support their recovery out in the community.”  Continue reading...

Learn more about the Community Health programs offered at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.

Classes and Events

At MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, we care about the health and wellness of our community. One of the ways we try to keep you healthy and active is by offering special classes, events, and screenings. Join us, and learn how you can stay healthy for life. Visit this page to see our class listings. To register, click the buttons below or call 855-212-8202. All classes are free unless noted otherwise.